If you have ignored form programmes up until now, you should review what your manual has to say about them before continuing. This article will not teach you how to enter form programmes into your console or how to knit with them.
Before we look at the actual codes that make up form programmes, let's take a step back and consider how form programmes work on a very general level. Prior to writing the programme, the programmer must have a model to work from. This might be a schematic drawing showing the outline of the fabric piece and measurements in centimeters or a chart of the fabric piece worked out in stitches and rows. Most likely the programmer will have both a chart and a schematic prepared before writing the program. I will refer to the fabric piece that would have been knitted up according to the original drawing and chart as 'the model fabric piece' or more simply, 'the model.'
The programmer will then write the programme according to the model. You, the user, will alter the programme with your own gauge information and typically, your preferences for width and length. The console then compares your input to the model fabric piece and recharts a new fabric peice based on your preferences. This is the essence and purpose of a form programme, to alter some theoretical chart of a model fabric piece according to user choice to arrive at a new chart, which will then be used to prompt the knitter as they knit the fabric piece.
Form programmes may be up to 49 lines long. There are two main sections to a form programme, the initialization section and the shaping section. The initialization section gathers the gauge information and the number of stitches to cast on. The shaping section contains the instructions to knit the fabric piece: the rows to knit, and the increases and decreases.
Let's look at the initialization section in detail. The initialization section is always found in the first seven programme lines. It begins with the programmer's gauge information followed by the user's gauge information. Next is the number of stitches to cast on. Finally, we have the width of the model fabric piece followed by the user's chosen width. Here's an example.
|1||100||Progammer's length in millimeters for 40 rows of knitting.|
|2||200||Progammer's width in millimeters for 40 stitches of knitting.|
|3||(A)||User's length in millimeters for 40 rows of knitting.|
|4||(B)||User's width in millimeters for 40 stitches of knitting.|
|5||120||Number of stitches cast on for the model fabric piece.|
|6||108||Cast on width for model. This is typically in centimeters, but does not have to be. This measurement may be a body measurement or actual measurement of the model fabric piece.|
|7||*||The user's desired width at cast on. The user must consult the documentation accompanying the program to determine the unit of measure, typically centimeters, and whether this is a body measurement or a measurement of the finished fabric piece. How is it that the console is smart enough to know what the programmer and user mean by these width values? Simple: the console takes a ratio of the programmer's value and the user's value. If the user were to enter 135 in this example, the piece would be 25% larger or 150 stitches. (135/108 * 100 = 125%; 120 * 1.25 = 150 stitches) Please note that widths may only be increased in form programmes. In reviewing form programs you may sometimes see lines 6 and 7 replaced by a pair of 3's indicating that the number of cast on stitches is fixed by the programmer and the user may not alter it to their preference. There is no magic in the number 3; it is just used as a convention. In this instance, lines 6 and 7 could be any numbers as long as they were the same. This can be proved by calculating the ratio. (3/3 * 100 = 100%) Any pair of numbers that give a ratio of 100% means that the programmer intends the width to be fixed.|
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Have you tried Journal Six, computer aided design software for the PASSAP E6000?